The Good Funeral Guide Blog

There’s nowt so gold as green

Monday, 31 October 2011

 

Posted by Charles

 

An irony of the natural burial movement is that it was begat by idealists and freethinkers and  environmentalists… and then spied and pounced on by venture vultures scenting carrion. When you do the math you can easily see why — and begin to fear that there are going to be tears before bedtime.

Here’s an example.

Take 15.7 acres of land in Haslemere, Surrey. Get planning permission to turn them into a natural burial ground. Put them up for sale for around £3 million. 

This is actually happening.

The buyer sells each plot at what you’d pay for a plot in local authority cemetery in leafy Haslemere, namely £2,000. That parcel of land is set to earn…

£28 million. 

More here

 

 

 

2 comments on “There’s nowt so gold as green

  1. Wednesday 2nd November 2011 at 3:13 pm

    Rosie, thank you for this – very much indeed.

    Yes, still a way to go. We must fight the good fight.

  2. Wednesday 2nd November 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Oh if only it was that easy Charles!

    There are cheaper, probably better natural burial sites in that area and I don’t think they will do very well if they pitch it at the level you suggest. I suspect something else is going on here.

    If it is as you calculate, they are unlikely to see a return for 20 years or more.

    £3 million they must be mad. Far more likely is that a company specialising in crematoria has snapped it up, speculating that with a death related status already in place they will not have such a struggle to get a slight change of use.

    If the local municipal needs to charge 2k a time to run its intensively maintained cemetery that is justifiable. This does not mean it is, or should be, the bench mark for a nearby natural site to set its prices. This would be naive and foolish in my opinion and I am glad I do not have shares in the company who have apparently offered more than 3m for the site in question; if my spies are right!

    Thankfully the majority of Natural Burial Ground, NBG, operators are running their sites for more noble reasons and are priced far more sensitively and affordably. They also allow DIY, I use this term for clarity not charm, funerals which, if pursued, can be far cheaper. Families are also not under pressure to spend hundreds on a fancy headstone, as may be the case with a regular interment, something FDs should be pointing out when pricing up alternative costs with families.

    Isn’t it interesting that some small village cemeteries charge £194 for a plot, well they do round my way. Even if they charge treble fees for outsiders, not just double, it means you can get burials in a leafy areas other than Haslemere for under a grand, all in!

    So venture vultures beware, your plans and investment may well decompose. The good news is that there are still the environmental, free thinking idealsits opening up burial sites. Fantastic choice for all run by wonderful people.

    Lots of calls today, a couple of families wanting to organise DIY cremations, and two families looking for FDs offering a disposal service. A lady in Wrexham told that embalming is a legal requirement by three different FDs. And a chap just now who was told that if he couldn’t pay their cheapest £3,500 cremation his only alternative was to disown the body and let the council do it. Also a lady coping with her freaked out mother, Mum went to view her husband and did not recognise him. Bless those embalmers!

    All fun and games or should that be lies and bullying?
    Still a way to go Charles.
    X Rosie

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